The flowers, stems, shoots, and unripe fruits of the plant are consumed as vegetables. In the south of Mexico, the wild, more bitter varieties are used in this same way, once washed and cleaned to eliminate cucurbitin. The ripe fruit is grilled to make pies or used to feed animals. The seeds yield an edible oil.
The plant’s adaptation to warm climates, and a resistance to squash borers, make it very competitive in the agricultural industry. It is used especially in the southern states of the U.S. for use in pies, preferred over other pumpkins by some cooks.
It is also grown in the Sonoran Desert region of the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico by native peoples, especially the Tohono O’odham, where it is especially prized when immature as a summer squash.
Cucurbita argyrosperma also has medicinal properties. A liquid emulsion of its seed can act as a vermifuge, and the subsequent use of a laxative can effect an expulsion of parasitic worms.
Another medicinal use of Cucurbita argyrosperma is that of the flesh, which can be used for burns, eczema, and promoting lactation in nursing women.